Don't Diet in 2019 - Reason #17: Diets don't magically morph you into an organized food-prepping diva

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Let me know if you come across a diet that morphs you into a food-prepping genius like Jillian Michaels.

For some reason we seem to believe that a diet will spontaneously turn us into an organized person who plans out every meal, preps food on Sundays…and loves every second of it. This has not been my experience personally or with clients.

If you are not a “planner” a diet won’t morph you into one. If you like a lot of variety in your food or get bored easily, a diet won’t necessarily satisfy your needs or palette. You might stick with a strict routine for a few days or weeks, but if your life is very chaotic or you’re just not an organized person, a diet won’t change your life or personality!

I have a secret: I pretty much never plan meals ahead or prep food. I’ve tried and tried and tried, and I never stick with it. First off, I’m not a terribly organized person. And half the time if I prep something in advance, I don’t want it when it’s time to eat it! Variety is the spice of life and I’m not about to eat five-day-old grayish chicken and flaccid broccoli.

Diets don’t change who you are as a person. Going on diet also doesn’t change the fact that your kid has soccer three nights a week, or that there are piles of laundry to do, or a deadline is approaching at work.

What you should do instead….

Anti-Diet Wisdom: A diet will not magically afford you more time or change your personality, so if you’re not exercising and eating healthy the way you should, you need to address the reasons why. You need to work with your personality and your current lifestyle if you ever hope to make healthy habits stick!

Make a list of things you know to be true about yourself or your lifestyle. These personality traits or lifestyle factors also often present challenges to getting fit and healthy.

Here’s what my personal list looks like:

  • I don’t enjoy cycling, swimming, or yoga.

  • I don’t like long workouts or group workouts (i.e. I’m a loner).

  • I do like walking, hiking, kayaking, and lifting heavy objects.

  • I like variety in food — both in texture and taste sensations.

  • I will eat leftovers the next day, but not three days down the line.

  • I am not good at planning and prepping food in advance.

  • My life is busy and it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down any time soon.

  • My kid and husband are pickier eaters than me.

  • I love sweets and desserts and have no plans to give them up…but I sometimes have trouble controlling portion sizes with sweet foods.

  • My stress typically peaks on Fridays…and I’m most likely to binge or overeat on this day.

  • My family and I like to eat out one to two times per week.

  • Social situations or having a schedule that’s too busy make me stressed and unhappy.

All of these things about my personality and my life affect my health in some way shape or form…and a diet won’t change any of them. Each and every one of the above reasons could be used as excuses not to make healthy choices. Instead, I’ve used this lifestyle and personality list to mold my life so that I can work around my personality “flaws” and busy lifestyle, and still achieve my health goals. Here’s what that looks like for me:

  • I don’t do much cycling, swimming, or yoga, and most of my formal workouts are under 45 minutes long. I engage mostly in activities and forms of exercise that I LIKE and mostly do these things alone.

  • I keep a wide variety of easy-to-grab healthy snacks available in my purse and car, and I have an arsenal of quick, healthy, and delicious dinner recipes that I cycle through monthly. I make some concessions for my picky child and husband — for example, I often choose to eat spaghetti squash in place of noodles…but it literally costs me no extra time to make noodles for them.

  • I never prep food in advance and I won’t eat leftovers or pre-prepped food beyond 2 or 3 days (unless I make something entirely different from it - check out this blog post about how I learned to love leftovers!). I simply fill my fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy items so that I can be more “in the moment” and quench my need for variety.

  • I eat dessert every night after dinner — usually ice cream. I look forward to this. But I make sure it’s a single-serve cup like Chilly Cow so I don’t overeat it.

  • On Fridays, I stop working at 4:00 PM, sharp, and allow myself to sit down, watch some TV or read a book, and decompress. Wine is usually involved. We almost never make plans for a Friday night because I typically don’t want to see other people and I need that time to just spend with my closest peeps. I rarely ever host parties, dinners, or gatherings at my home.

  • When we eat out, it’s usually lunch on Sundays to avoid crowds of people.

  • I cut out unnecessary activities to help me and my family avoid being overly busy and stressed. This has meant learning to say ‘no’ a lot more often! Girl Scout cookie exchange — nope. Take clients on Sunday — nope. Enter my kid into 37 extracurricular activities — nope. Super clean house, laundry always done and folded, dishes always clean — nope…and guess what…my husband and kid have hands and arms too.

Keeping myself and my family healthy is a top priority for me…so I make it work. If health is a top priority for you, make it so in your life…but you still need to make it work with your life.


Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer

Learn more about the author here.